Category: UnSQL Friday


It’s Un-SQL Friday, so all about something SQL-Adjacent. This month, something related to Lessons learned as a speaker. Ok, so that’s much easier than the last one I took part in. I’ve done a couple of presentations, and the first, well, that wasn’t so great.

So being a BI Developer, and aside from the past year or so, I previously spent pretty much the past 8-10 years writing code.  So, I’ve not done a huge amount of presentations.

However, having been to a number of developer and SQL focussed presentations, by a wide range of people, I allowed myself to be talked into doing a session. It wasn’t a long session, just 15 minutes (seemed longer…), covering an ORM (Object Relational Mapper). I’d chosen the Telerik OpenAccess one, and would be covering it as part of an ORM themed evening at our local community group (DevEvening).

So, having prepared a talk, slides, gotten some input from Telerik, and done some example code. I went off to do the session. The problem I found was that coding on the fly is bad. It can never end well, in the majority of cases.

What I’d done was write down what steps I needed to code, and although I’d run through it a few times beforehand, and had a couple of times with no issues, there is a difference between doing it at your desk, and doing it in a presentation situation. Actually, I should have had saved projects, to do each of the examples.

I know this now, and when I do my next one, something SQL related, I think, I’ll be better prepared for what I’m doing.

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Well, this was an interesting one. The point of Un-SQL Friday is something that is SQL-adjacent, which is a little vague, to say the least.

This month, and since it’s Valentines day, it’s focussed on sharing the love, and on companies that are ‘doing it right’.

Having thought about this, I could have talked about SQLskills who are doing great MCM Level SQL training  (not to mention, acquiring @Brentozar), I could have talked about Microsoft who are doing good things with SQL Server (e.g. Features of Denali, etc), or I could’ve talked about Fusion-IO, and their great work on IO hardware for getting serious performance out of SQL Server (and for the CrappyCodeGames at SQLBits), but they aren’t really SQL-adjacent.

One of the things that a company, that is doing the ‘right thing’, is that you don’t notice them. You use their wares, and only notice when things go pear-shaped.

Given that, the only company, that I use directly, and is vaguely SQL-adjacent, is Zen Internet (@zeninternet). I’ve been a customer of theirs for nearly 6 years, and have only had to get in tough with them when I’ve wanted to change my services (such as changing my Internet access from ADSL to Fibre, or if I wanted to change from Linux hosting to Windows Hosting).

Zen customer service is the best in the UK, and is based in the UK (rather than being offshored).

I am aware that a lot of readers of this will not be UK-based, but, a lot of companies could look at how Zen are doing business, and take note.

Some of their key points, from my perspective are:

  • UK based customer service
  • Prompt and competent support staff
  • No traffic-shaping
  • No spam emails trying to upsell you
  • Respect from BT engineers
  • All in all, great job Zen, thank you, and happy Valentines day!

ps. If you are wondering how this is even vaguely SQL related, I have a website, running a database on it, and that’s using SQL server on it… Vague, but hey.. 😉